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Day 2: AIIMS shelter goes without food

The people housed in a shelter on the AIIMS campus had to go without NGO-sponsored free meals for the second day on Thursday, even as authorities tried to

delhi Updated: Sep 20, 2012 23:53 IST
Mallica Joshi

The people housed in a shelter on the AIIMS campus had to go without NGO-sponsored free meals for the second day on Thursday, even as authorities tried to wash their hands of the development.

For close to a year now, the homeless people living in the shelter inside AIIMS —most of whom are patients who cannot afford a place to stay in the city —have been getting one assured meal per day.

But from the past two days, members of PRERNA, an NGO that works with the homeless and also serves food in the shelter, have been denied entry into the hospital campus.

"We brought dinner for 500 people, as we usually do, but were stopped from entering the campus. The guards told us that they could not allow us to enter because of a 'safety and security' issue. We have been getting food from the ISKCON temple since the day the shelter started to function. There are people in this shelter who are too sick, too old and too poor to make arrangements for their own food," said Palvinder Singh, one of the NGO members.

According to the authorities at AIIMS, however, the NGO workers were not stopped by them.

"We did not issue any such directive. We have no problem with people giving food to those living in the shelter," said the AIIMS spokesperson.

The NGO workers, however, were forced to feed people on the roadside. "Though we tried to have a talk with the administration on Thursday, they were not available," added Singh.